A Howlin' Good Time
As Halloween approaches, my thoughts turn to ghosts, goblins, and my favorites, werewolves. Are they stuff of myths and legends? The result of psychosis. Or...real?
As I was researching werewolves this week for a new story I'm plotting, I came across the story of the Henrico County Werewolf. It is a well known local legend although no one seems to know its origins. The creature is only seen during the full moon and has been known to howl. It also chases people although it has never killed or hurt any humans. Six-feet tall, it's covered with grayish white hair. It can stand on its hind legs or run on all four legs. It has a human like body but a face like an animal.
This, along with all the books, movies, and stories told around the campfire when camping spurred my imagination. So, when I was looking for inspiration for a tale of seductive suspense, it's no surprise that werewolves came to mind.
But, not just any old werewolf. This one is of man's own making. As we know from the media and popular fiction, the government has the unfortunate habit of dabbling in biological warfare. Both real and fictional mad scientists are endeavoring to harness the power of ebola or, in my story, lycanthropy. Needless to say, these diseases weren't created to be servants of men and tend to have nightmarish results.
Which is how Eclipse, California came into being.
As you drive through town, it looks like any other middle class neighborhood. Nice houses, well-kept lawns, and a particularly well-stocked meat section at the grocery store. The only difference, the population of Eclipse are outcasts, nearly prisoners in their little town. For, once a month, at the full moon, the inhabitants turn into werewolves. For public safety, they've been isolated from the rest of the world.
Until Michael O'Toole inherited a mansion on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately, the pack wasn't content to let bygones be bygones, and someone had the smart idea of having Mike join in the fun.
Too bad no one asked him first.
I'm currently working on the character who will give Mikey a run for his money and claim his heart for her own.
Meanwhile, I want to leave you with a few more sightings, just to make sure you stay awake and glued to your windows during the next full moon.
Perhaps one of the most famous cases is told by Delburt Gregg of Greggton, Texas. In 1958, she was alone on a dark and stormy night. Her husband was away, and she had of the night, she awoke to the sound of scratching at the screen. When the lightning flashed, a "huge, shaggy, wolf-like creature" was "clawing at the screen and glaring ... with baleful, glowing, slitted eyes." As she jumped from the bed to grab a flashlight to get a closer look, the creature dashed away and hid in a large collection of bushes. Ms. Gregg didn't fall asleep right away and was stunned to later see a tall man walk down the road and into the darkness.
In 1936, Mark Schackelman claimed to have seen a six-foot tall, hair-covered creature digging in an Indian mound near Jefferson, Wisconsin. The creature had a large muzzle and included both ape and dog characteristics. With pointed ears and human-like hands, the creature smelled to high heaven with the scent of dead meat. The next night, Schackelman saw the same creature and heard it making a strange "three-syllable growling". When he began to pray, the creature quickly turned and dashed away.
Then, there's the Beast of Bray Road. On October 31, a young woman was driving along Bray Road near Delavan, Wisconsin when she felt her car jump as if the right tire had hit an object. After stopping the car, she saw a dark and hairy figure running toward her. She sped away only to have the creature jump onto the car's trunk. Due to the slick metal, the beast was unable to gain a hold of the vehicle. When returning with a friend, the duo saw a large dark shape standing near the side of the road.
When the report got out, several other people also claimed to have seen the strange creature. In 1989, Lorianne Endrizzi was traveling along the same road when she caught site of a figure kneeling at the side of the road. When she slowed the car, she claimed the creature stared at her through the passenger window. She estimated the beast was about six feet away and had grayish brown hair with large fangs and pointed ears. She also claimed the creature had a snout and human-like hands. A local farmer also saw the creature, but took it to be a gigantic dog.
Real or Fiction?
What do you believe?